HOPE for Ohio


A newly formed coalition in Ohio, Help Ohio Public Education, is seeking to unseat a member of the board of education who was at the forefront of efforts to compromise the treatment of evolution in the state science standards. Speaking to the Columbus Dispatch (August 12, 2006), HOPE's chair, Lawrence M. Krauss of Case Western University, explained, "We hope to raise the profile of school-board elections ... We've seen in Ohio and Kansas how significant these elections can be."

HOPE is targeting Deborah Owens-Fink, who represents the Seventh State Board District (encompassing Ashtabula, Portage, Summit, and Trumbull counties, including Ohio's fifth largest city, Akron), and whose term of office expires at the end of 2006. Writing in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (August 11, 2006), Krauss contended that Owens-Fink "has systematically worked to dilute and distort the teaching of science in the state."

HOPE expects to recruit Tom Sawyer -- a former teacher, mayor of Akron, and member of Congress -- to challenge Owens-Fink in the November 2006 election. The Akron Beacon-Journal's editorial (August 17, 2006) was enthusiastic about the prospect of Sawyer's campaign, and commenting of his supporters, "They grasp the critical need for a rigorous science curriculum, one that avoids detours into the realm of faith. In Tom Sawyer, they have a candidate who recognizes the difference this election can make."

The Columbus Dispatch (August 17, 2006) threw its editorial weight behind HOPE, commenting, "HOPE deserves the attention of Ohio voters. The group's members include some of the brightest minds in Ohio, people who are in a position to know the kind of scientific base students should have before they move onto college and out into the world, where their understanding of science will play a crucial role in keeping the nation economically competitive."